Sunday, June 24, 2018

Families For Freedom: “Keep the Heat On”

The activists at Families For Freedom sent out this email on June 22. We’re reposting their important message in full as a reminder that the immigrant rights movement now has the initiative and we can’t afford to let it slip away. (You can contribute to FFF here.)—TPOI editor.

Keep the Heat On

June 22, 2018
In angered response to the images and recordings of children and babies torn from their parents at the border, the media and political discourse on immigration has leapt forward in the past two weeks. We have seen previously marginalized analysis enter the mainstream, with cable news pundits making connections between family separation, residential schools and slavery, commentators discussing the inextricable links between the immigration and criminal punishment systems, and political candidates running with #AbolishICE in their platforms.

The blinders are lifting but those who have been on the front lines have seen this coming. However, being right is only meaningful if it both motivates and directs action. As more people grow more confident calling for the abolition of ICE, we need to ensure that our efforts are in alignment and focused about our objectives just as we have been about ending the separation of families. Our goal is freedom, point blank and unequivocal. This means ending all forms of detention, including the electronic shackles. 

We are clear about our goals and actions. Families for Freedom maintains two mottos that inform our strategy: Name the Oppressor, and Make Them Bleed.

We  are laser focused on the two ghouls that have led the Trump administration’s acceleration of the detention and deportation system: Stephen Miller and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. They are the ones pushing the buttons on the present terror. They are organized and they have detailed plans to carry out their program of ethnic cleansing in pursuit of a white country. We know what kind of people they are: white supremacists with clear and unambiguous histories. Targeting them directly means also targeting the networks that support them and that have been  critical to their growth, including the fascist anti-immigrant foundations NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies, and FAIR. These groups can be fought. Sessions can be brought down.

There is no question that the current nightmare predates Trump, that the legal and carceral apparatus inherited by these goons was built and maintained by Clinton, Bush, and Obama. But as long as Sessions and Miller are close to power, our most urgent task is taking them out.

As the folks at Grassroots Leadership pointed out yesterday, it is also a matter of stripping them of their tools.The mechanism Sessions employed to separate children from their families is the criminalization of immigration—specifically the prosecution of all migrants arrested crossing the southern border. Almost half of all federal criminal prosecutions in 2017 were for the crime of crossing the border. This is a piece of the many ways immigrants end up in the crosshairs of the detention and deportation system: from the arrests of asylum seekers at the border to the detention and deportation of long-time residents due to criminal convictions. If the Democrats in Congress who believe themselves to be allies of immigrants are serious about ending this violence, they need to bring about the end of the prosecution of illegal entries. They also need to bring about the removal of Steven Miller, seeing that “those who are appointed, can be disappointed.”

With the targets and the horizons defined, the actions we take to make ‘em bleed in the short term have more clarity. As Bayard Rustin said: “The only weapon we have is our bodies and we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn.” The recent actions in Portland, D.C., New York, and all the others exemplify this.

Families for Freedom remains strong in the call to end the criminalization of immigration, to abolish ICE, and to destroy the detention and deportation machine. To end business as usual we need to step outside our comfort zones and take action. Below are just a couple of things that you can do right away and there will be more as things unfold, so stay vigilant and see you in the streets!

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